Written by our Founder and CEO, the Celebrations Pulse letters aim to engage with our community. By welcoming your ideas and sharing your stories, we want to help you strengthen your relationships with the most important people in your life.
Happy Halloween! The actual day isn’t until Tuesday, but I suspect many of you have been celebrating the season of spookiness for weeks now. As I wrote in last week’s Celebrations Pulse, the holiday has greatly changed since my days of trick-or-treating in Queens, New York.
These days, Halloween is much more than an evening of knocking on neighbors’ doors and collecting candy. It’s about whole communities coming together to deck the porches with coordinated cobwebs, graveyards, and skeletons. It’s about entire downtowns opening their doors to trick-or-treaters. And it’s about people connecting and strengthening their relationships.
Above all, Halloween is – and has always been – about creating memories that become the stories you share with your children and grandchildren. That was clear in the dozens of stories you shared with me over the past couple of weeks.
I’d like to share some of the stories from the community. I hope you find these as enjoyable and inspiring as I do.
Trek for treat
Kitty, a community member from Florida, shared a tale that read like a classic Halloween ghost story. A fan of the holiday for as long as she remembers, she recounted a particularly harrowing time when she and her friends ventured into a new neighborhood to trick-or-treat.
The first house was an old Victorian, where they went all out with their decorating. They had tombstones in a graveyard, skeletons, and cobwebs. They played scary music as well!
When we finally got the courage to ring the doorbell, a very nice man dressed as Lurch from The Addams Family came to the door. As he attempted to project a low-volume Lurch grumble, he reached into a hinged ‘Thing Box,’ and pulled out full-size candy bars for each of us!
After Kitty and her friends ignored Lurch’s warnings to go home, they rode their bikes to the next house. It was tiny and in disrepair, with only one lit pumpkin on the porch. The doorbell went unanswered, so they turned around to go home.
We had not even gotten to the driveway when all of a sudden, a group of scary-looking characters came out from around the house grunting and howling at us. We ran like we were running the 100-yard dash down that dark road, screaming ‘HELP!’ with every step!
Eventually, Lurch appeared in the street, and everyone had a good laugh. It turned out that the two houses were owned by the same family of farmers, and they had coordinated the entire thing.
The incident didn’t scare Kitty out of loving Halloween. In fact, she passed her passion on to her daughter, who insisted on buying a home in a “Halloween friendly” neighborhood. “It is a boo-ti-ful thing to behold!” Kitty says.
More memorable Halloween stories – and birthdays
Cheri wrote about how she grew up in a small subdivision and how trick-or-treating helped them connect with neighbors. When she and her husband moved to their own house in a rural area, they continued the tradition even though the homes were an acre apart. She also passed her love of Halloween to her daughter.
When my oldest daughter grew up and moved away, her own home became the best decorated in the neighborhood. All our family gathers at her house for big Halloween parties. We love that she carried on the excitement of Halloween.
When I can’t get there in time to help prepare, I order Cheryl’s Cookies to add to the table. My other daughter orders Cheryl’s Halloween cookies and takes them into the office, which makes her coworkers very happy.
A few members of our community wrote to us about how they also celebrate their birthdays on Oct. 31. Ramona writes:
“I pretty much always celebrate Halloween the same way, with a birthday celebration! One of the first people I met in college was my friend Janis. We met on pledge night at our sorority and discovered that we shared the same Halloween birthday.
“Forty-four years later, and there is no one I would rather share my birthday and Halloween with than my sorority sister, tennis partner, neighbor, and lifelong best friend, Janis.”
Another community member, Linda, also celebrates her birthday on Oct. 31. This year, it’s even more special as Linda’s turning 80!
I am having a party for mostly family and a few good friends with a Halloween theme. This will be a three-day event with lots of decorations, Halloween food, and games. I am excited to see everyone, especially those coming from out of town. Of course, I will be ordering treats from Harry & David to help celebrate since turning 80 calls for a big celebration!
A Halloween legacy
Another Linda in our community recalled how she and her friends won first prize at their middle school costume contest in 1979. They dressed as characters from the TV show The Munsters, and Linda was Lily with long black hair and a strip of cotton for the character’s iconic white streak.
But Halloween didn’t come alive for her until she met her husband, Jon. Linda recounted how they lived near Anoka, Minnesota, the Halloween capital of the world. “There was no shortage of events and activities to share with my beloved Halloween partner,” Linda writes.
Today, she relishes the memories.
I no longer need that white cotton in my hair to look like Lily, since it has its own white streaks. And Jon is gone now. I miss him so much. This year, I have a new great-niece in Virginia, and I sent her first Halloween gifts.
I also wrote her stories about her great uncle she will never meet. I told her about his carved pumpkin masterpieces and how he bravely walked through the scariest haunted houses, with his arms folded across his chest, and me cowering behind his broad shoulders.
Thank you, Linda, for sharing such special stories with your great-niece – and with our community.
May this year bring you all your favorite treats, lots of warm smiles with your family and friends, and plenty of new memories to share.
All the best,